Tatia galaxias Mees,
he genus Tatia contains around about
14 species distributed throughout South America east of the Andes
from Venezuela and Colombia to Southern Brazil. They don't grow
big and the largest size recorded is 12cm. ( 5ins).
Tatia tend to be kept by catfish
fanatics (for the want of a better word!) as you will not see
them from one week to another as they are nocturnal (active
at night) and you have to feed at lights out or as I do, put
food into the pipe or crevice that you will find them jammed
Tatia galaxias is a nicely marked
catfish, as most of this genus are, and sometimes difficult
to identify to species. Tatia aulopygia and Tatia
intermedia are the two species that come to mind in this
I.D. category and it is not beyond the realms of fantasy that
we could be looking at wrongly names species in the numerous
catfish books and on the internet, and if buying from your local
shop a catfish named T.galaxias may be T.intermedia
instead, but looking after this catfish in the aquarium
are the same for all three. Mees (1974) described T. galaxias
on the basis of its diagnostic colour pattern of small white
spots evenly spaced over a dark body. Mees, (1974: 88) considered
its coloration reminiscent of that of T. intermedia,
except in T. galaxias the body is darker, the spots
smaller, and the tail dark with white spots (vs. pale with dark
spots and cross-bars in T. intermedia).
The first thing you must look out for
is a well fitting lid for the tank as this cat can jump out
of an aquarium, but it is mostly when you disturb them, especially
when water changing or rearranging the tank layout. I have found
that they are happiest when kept together in a small group but
they are also fine individually, as this is a very hardy species.
The eyes of Tatia are large
with a skin over them and a few non catfish aquarists tend to
think that they have cloudy eye's and it is a disease, but this
is normal for the Auchenipteridae family. The barbels are moderate
in length reaching to the end of the dorsal fin and they tend
to bend them upwards when looking for food on the water surface.
They can also tuck their barbels alongside their cheeks making
them nearly invisible. I tend to think that there is a groove
in this area where they can lay their barbels in. They possess
two pairs of barbels, one pair of mandibular and one pair of
They have quite a chunky body with a
broad based caudal peduncle (between the dorsal and caudal)
which is unusual in itself as in most fish it slopes down to
the caudal fin. Tatia possess a very small adipose fin and a
moderately sized ventral and anal.
The anal fin is the key to the sexual dimorphism
of this genus, if you think of the male and female of most livebearer
fish (Goodeidae family) and you wil not be too far away with this
assumption. As you can see above the female has a normal anal fin
but the males are modified into a copulatory organ with the first
and second ray thickened and longer, it is thought that the male
uses this to clasp the female during the spawning embrace.
Dorsal spines (total): 1; Dorsal soft rays
(total): 5; Anal soft rays: 9 - 10; Vertebrae: 32 - 33. The following
unique characters separate this species from all other species of
Tatia: postcleithral process well developed, reaching almost
to a vertical through the dorsal-fin origin; orbital diameter 37.0-42.9%
HL; and snout length 23.1-28.9% HL . Can be further distinguished
by the following features: narrow elliptical cranial fontanel; ribs
7; nasal ossified with wide medial flanges partially sutured to
lateral margin of mesethmoid.
Colour pattern of small white spots evenly
spaced over a dark body. Colouration
variable, sides of body usually dark with light, rounded spots or
dots, or sometimes uniformly pale brown; toothed prevomer in examined
large adult specimens.
Give them small pipes, and they do seem to
like to hide in the crevices of bogwood as well. They appear to
be happier if they can jam themselves in with the use of their pectoral
fins. Community tanks are fine for this species although you may
find that they will predate on fry from other species, but apart
from that they come well recommended but don't expect to see them
First bred in 1988 in Germany, 200 non-adhesive
3mm eggs are released and sink to the substrate. They hatch in 3
to 3½ days and the fry are free swimming 5 days later. They
should only be fed at night with finely ground TetraMin as well
as frozen rotifers and baby brine shrimp.
In its native habitat they feed on small invertebrates
and crustaceans and in the aquarium they will eat anything given
such as frozen bloodworm inserted in to their hideaway, catfish
tablets, white worm (sparingly) and prawns and shrimp. They do like
their food and you can see them shooting out of their hideouts and
swimming in a frenzied manner to try and take all for themselves,
especially when you feed them their favourite food, frozen bloodworm.
Another food that they love is Fish Farm pellets but you have to
watch the water quality with this food as it can quickly foul the
water, so feed sparingly.
Burgess, W.E. 1989 An atlas
of freshwater and marine catfishes. A preliminary survey of the
Siluriformes. T.F.H. Publications, Inc., Neptune City, New Jersey
(USA). 784 p.
In honour of Mr. C. Tate Regan.
Baensch, H.A. and R. Riehl 1991 Aquarien atlas.
Bd. 3. Melle: Mergus, Verlag für Natur- und Heimtierkunde,
Germany. 1104 p.
Catfish Association Great Britain. Volume1.
Sterba, Gunther; Freshwater Fishes of the World 1.
Sarmento-Soares, L.M. and R.F. Martins-Pinheiro
2008 A systematic revision of Tatia (Siluriformes: Auchenipteridae:
Centromochlinae). Neotrop. Ichthyol. 6(3):495-542.
Paul E. Turley
|Milky Way Woodcat
America: Middle Orinoco
River basin. Type locality: Caño de
Quiribana into Río Orinoco, Venezuela.
|21-24c (69-75f )
| 6.5 - 7.2.
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